Friday, February 26, 2016

Believe in Your Country; This Will Pass

This is not an indictment of the American political system.  Rather, I'd like to remind my American friends of a few realities that might bring them a little comfort in the face of Donald Trump.

There are considerable concerns with the present Republican race; for example, poll-workers during the Nevada  caucus wearing Trump gear and other voting problems, which suggests a far greater breakage in the system than the candidate's popularity.  I saw several examples on tweets and other media during the campaign, while real time discussion of the phenomenon was in play.  Personally, I feel that this, as well as the Republican party's inability to set their own agenda or control its candidates, is a sign of the party's imminent collapse.

Parties have collapsed before - in American history as well as in every other democracy.  Parties are not the system; they are a method by which a given political agenda tries to play the system.  Right now, the GOP is playing that system very, very badly - and it is no surprise, given their tactics of the last ten years: attempts to defund the government, oppose majority rule, discount any respect for the presidency, the will to peace-driven foreign policy and now the staunch refusal to recognize their responsibility in naming a new Supreme Court Justice.  As issue after issue has arisen in front of the Republicans, they have handled it poorly, particularly in terms of their own base.  As posited by this source,

". . . this time, a lot of Republican voters feel that the GOP establishment really treats them like suckers. Once in office they forget all about their promises to ban abortion and push gays back into the closet. Then they pass trade deals that ship jobs overseas and try to privatize Social Security and cut taxes for the rich. These aren't policies blue-collar Republicans want at all. This year they have had enough and have found a champion, albeit a strange one in a thrice-married, four-times-bankrupt, New York real estate billionaire."

The decision of the base to support Trump is nothing more than the Republican base sending a message to their own party: "You don't believe what we believe."  At this time, a substantial core of the American people do not believe that the election is important.  They believe that this message is important.  They would rather say what they believe than win an election.  This is a clear sign that the GOP establishment has failed in their mandate.

I have heard many express concerns that Trump will be the candidate.  Americans have asked me how much property costs in Canada.  This is a joke, of course - but there are many who can identify with the need to make this joke.

But I don't see anything to worry about.  Of course, I think Trump will lose the general election.  I can't imagine that the America that would not vote Romney into a majority four years ago would now find Trump a viable alternative - but let's say that I'm wrong.  I might be wrong.  Strange things happen in an election.  Suppose for a moment that Trump wins and becomes the President of the United States.

Even as a "Republican" president he would be in contention with a Senate or House rules by his own party.  Trump won't follow orders, which is what the Republican party wants - so that will make him no more useful to the Hill than a Democratic president would be.  Just as there has been a deadlock in place these last four years, where the only available air has come through decisions made the Supreme Court, that deadlock would continue - only now, between a recalcitrant ideologue and a hateful Legislative Branch.  And if, by some miracle, the Democrats were to take back the Senate or re-establish themselves in the House, the situation would be the same.  Whomever has to deal with Trump will find themselves having to manage a child in the White House.

The real damage won't be domestic - this deadlock will simply continue, as it has already existed these past six years.  The real damage will be in America's foreign reputation - which will be long-lasting and harsh; but I don't see the appearance of a Trump in the White House being any worse than most of the acts America has performed these past 15 years.  I think people will try to paint it as more horrible . . . but I don't believe that anyone outside the American Press finds this race to be the least bit surprising.

I don't believe the Press does either.  They're doing their jobs.  All elections must be refashioned into horse races, no matter what the circumstances.  All foregone conclusions must be sold as 'surprises,' all expected results must be termed in the after-analysis as 'unexpected' and all candidates must be depicted as 100% viable until it becomes impossible to paint them that way.  And I do mean impossible; someone, somewhere in America, still believes that Ben Carson could become President this year - and he might, given the probability of a brokered convention this year.  Until that brokered convention happens or Carson officially drops out of the race, someone, somewhere, will write another story that feeds Carson's supporters with the belief that he might win - because Journalism is about selling possibility and fantasy, just like palm readers do.

If someone fails to grasp that I just called journalists a bunch of lying, carny-show charlatans, I'll make that a little clearer:  everything that you see and read in the media about this election is complete horseshit.  The only thing that counts are the numbers that have happened - not polls or opinions or projections.

I think it's easy to understand how Trump supporters find Trump appealing.  He doesn't look like a politician.  He looks like a businessman.

Of course he's a lying racist.  Of course he's an idiot.  Of course he is completely self-centered and completely without any concern for any other human being.  But given the agenda of the Republican pundit these past twenty years, through the words of Beck, Limbaugh, Palin and endless others, which has engendered blue-blazing hatred for anyone who has put forth any opinion of any kind, the base has learned to stop listening to what people say. They can't hear Trump, except the way dogs hear humans - tone matters a million times more than message.  They can't see Trump's hair; they're seeing Trump's shoulders and casual way of walking, his ease, his apparent non-threatening posture.

This interpretation is incomprehensible to anyone with an education - i.e., people who can read, express themselves, evaluate facts and data, etc.  But it makes perfect sense where it comes to people who have become so calcified in the American message that they can no longer relate to any idea that suggests the future of America is based upon what people do or decide.  America is an unchanging truth.  It can never be challenged, it can never fail, it can never be anything but what it is:

Perfect.

That's not an admonition against Americans.  That's a description of a particular kind of American.  A kind that has to be made to see that they're wrong about their country; beauty depends on someone coming 'round once in awhile and picking up the garbage.



1 comment:

Sean Robert Meaney said...

Given the number of US citizens moving to Canada, England, Australia, New Zealand are increasing...I'd say its worse than you think it is.